A KId With Multicolored Hand Paint
A KId With Multicolored Hand Paint

We always hear about our qualities from people around us who compare us with our parents. We find people usually saying things like, she has got her excellent drawing skills from her dad or her beautiful singing is inherited from her mom! These are the qualities we inherit from our parents, and which are present since birth. But there are several qualities which an individual develops in their lifetime, depending on interests and needs. Like developing certain abilities, learning new languages, and so on. This happens gradually, over a period of time as and when new interests or needs are encountered. This analogy can be used to study the types of Immunity in humans! Yes! We have Two types of Immunity,these are:

  • Innate Immunity
  • Acquired immunity

The term innate means inborn, or congenital. That is, innate here stands for being present since birth. So is this type of immunity present in the organism since birth? Yes! All humans are born with an innate ability to fight off infections. This type of immunity is called Innate immunity. And since it is present since birth, the type is not specific to any particular infection. Rather, it is a non-specific type. That means, the ability helps the body fight various acute infections on its own. Now to fight the invading antigens, the system has to be prepared with some strong armed forces. In this case, the innate immunity has a few components that help it perform the necessary tasks. These include the physical barriers of the body, physiological barriers, the cells of the immune system and a few other important molecules. Let us take a glance at these, The first on our list are the Physical barriers. We say that innate immunity is the one with which we are born. So the physical barriers will include all the organs, or their secretions which help us fight infections. For example, The largest human organ, that is the SKIN, acts as the first line of defence for the human body. So this physical barrier is an excellent example of the innate immunity. Similar to the skin, there are several other physical barriers like the mucous coatings on the respiratory, the urogenital and the gastrointestinal tract.

On similar lines, we have physiological barriers and cellular barriers as well. The Physiological barriers include the obstacles for the foriegn invaders like, acids present in the stomach, saliva secreted by the salivary glands and many more. We also have cellular barriers like the immune cells, that is the lymphocytes and monocytes, they form the cellular barriers, as the invaders have to face them as soon as they enter the body. Well, we know that the immune cells are capable of producing target specific proteins called antibodies against the invaders. The various types of antibodies can be grouped as the molecules produced for fighting off the infections. Now since all the components, that is the physical barriers, the physiological ones and the immune cells are present in our body right since birth, they are categorised as the components of Innate immunity.

Now that we have learnt about the innate immunity which is the first type of immunity, let’s move ahead with the second type. The next type is Acquired immunity. Here, as the name suggests, the immunity is acquired by the individual in due course of time! It is a type of immunity which is developed over a period of time and is highly specific in nature. And how does immunity develop gradually with time? I mean, we understand the fact that we are born with some ability to fight infections naturally, as it happens in case of innate immunity. But how can immunity of some specific type be developed? Let us understand that with an example! People these days love to ride their bikes without wearing a helmet. But that is definitely not a safe option! But if a person comes across any unfortunate accident, then a lesson for lifetime is learned from it! Over a period of time, the person develops a fear for the unfortunate happening and learns how to take precautions to avoid it! Same is the case with our acquired immunity. There are numerous microbes present around us. They constantly find an opportunity to enter our body. Thus, our body has to encounter numerous pathogenic microbes constantly. These encounters help our body to develop strategies to fight these invaders. And this is how immunity is developed against specific pathogens that attack us! And this type of immunity keeps developing over our lifetime, as we keep encountering several invaders. This is nothing but Acquired immunity. One of the simplest examples of Acquired immunity is that of Chicken pox infection. The chicken pox virus will act as the antigen and our body will synthesize antibodies against it as an immune response. Our immune system has a very effective memory also known as immunological memory! So once the antibodies against that particular virus are synthesized, then next time the body will recognize the same antigen and destroy it, before it can cause any sought of infection. This is how the acquired immunity works.

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